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Cost of INSEAD MBA August 15, 2006

Posted by InvisibleInk in MBA Financing / Loans, Scholarships.

Simply, higher than you think! Now that my accommodation for next year is sorted, I need to look into getting a loan and applying for scholarships. INSEAD MBA programme is not cheap. The tuition fees cost €45,000 and average living expenses are €22,500 (excluding campus exchange costs and deposits). According to one of my interviewers, five years ago the tuition fees were only €27,000. He said since then INSEAD realised that it is at par with the elite American MBA programmes and adjusted the fees accordingly. What a way to almost double the fees in five years! The fees are normally paid in three instalments. 10% within three weeks of being offered a place, 60% one month before the classes start, and 30% four months into the programme. So, I will have paid 70% of my fees in three months time, scary…

There are many hidden costs that INSEAD doesn’t talk about until you’re admitted. For instance, the optional pre-MBA classes cost an additional €1200. If you don’t already speak three languages at business level or above, you may need to take language tuition during your studies. This would cost you €495 per period (A period is two months in INSEAD). A supplementary module, outside of core classes and required number of electives, would cost you €2200. Moreover, you should budget a further €800 for books. If you have to hand back your laptop to work and buy yourself a new one, count that in as well. So in the end, we probably looking at almost €50,000. I know some other MBA programmes providing all of these extras at zero cost to their MBAs. They simply integrate it into their tuition fees. This makes it more manageable but clearly this is not INSEAD’s choice.

On the positive, the school has a good reputation, especially in Europe, and it helps when looking to get a loan. So far from my observations, HSBC International offers the most competitive MBA loan at base rate plus 2% (currently makes 5% APR). Depending on individual circumstances they can offer anything from €10,000 to €50,000 with payback period up to 10 years. There is no penalty for early settlement. If you are in the UK, don’t go for HSBC graduate loans (currently around 7.5% minimum and more limited in many ways), make sure to contact HSBC International. There is also decent number of scholarships available to INSEAD students. I counted 45 when I last checked. They range between €3,000 and €15,000, a couple of higher ones at around €22,500 mark. Although, each one of them is targeted to different nationalities and some are gender specific. For instance, I am eligible to apply to nine of them, however we have been strongly advised not to apply to more than five and students are only allowed to get up to two scholarships. Currently, 20% of the students are financing their fees through scholarships. I heard that INSEAD is actively looking to increase its scholarships so there may be even more funding available in the future.



1. Krishan - October 5, 2006

Hi ,

I read your post about the costs at INSEAD and found it really useful … I am planning to apply to INSEAD for MBA this year. My profile :

Indian IT consultant for close to 7 years in three countries ( 3 years in USA , 3 years in India , 1 year in Bangkok-Thailand)

GMAT score = 710 ( Q-95 , V-76) second attempt on 29th Sept. 2006 , 610 ( Q-44 , V-30) first attempt 25th October 2005

Education : Bachelor of engineering in Electronics and Telecomm. completed in year 2000 with 72% marks Approximate GPA comes to be 3.6 …. from not a well known university in India

I am excited about INSEAD because of diversity and international experience it provides. If it is possible can you please provide me some feedback on my profile?


2. InvisibleInk - October 17, 2006

Hi Krishan. Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. I can give you an idea about your profile but I am not an expert on how the admissions committee takes decisions. So please bear this in mind when you read my comments.

As far as I know there are over 50 Indians in our class this year. INSEAD study groups usually have, 1 Indian, 1 engineer, 0 or 2 women, 1 consultant, 1 native English speaker and the rest of the group from different national and professional backgrounds. Study groups are usually 5-6 people.

So you can gather that being an Indian and IT consultant/Engineer like yourself is not uncommon. There is a lot of competition amongst people with a background similar to yours. So you must have an excellent GMAT score and great essays. 710 is a very good score. Although, you have a lower verbal score than quantitative score. Adcom prefers a balanced score. Since you’re coming from an engineering background, I would address this gap in the optional essay. Try to emphasize your verbal skills by illustrating examples of either very good marks in other tests, or by showing that you have used it extensively for work or other purposes. If you wrote reports or published papers, make sure you mention them.

You have  7 years of work experience. That is a plus. It will increase your chance of acceptance. Tell them how much you can add to the classes thanks to your extensive work experience. Another advantage is that you lived and worked in three countries ( 3 years in USA , 3 years in India , 1 year in Bangkok-Thailand). Make sure this comes across strongly in your essays. International experience is a must for INSEAD. Tell them how this makes you stand out from the rest.

My other concern is your age. I don’t know how old you are. Typically, a male MBA student at INSEAD is 29 years old. This can go down as much as 25 and as high as mid 30s. If you are within that range than that’s fine. If you are older, you may have to work harder on your essays or consider an executive MBA.

Hope this helps.

3. Niraj - November 2, 2006

Very nicely presented article and even better reply to the query (since it fits my profile also) 🙂 Thanks,

4. Lakshminarasimhan - November 12, 2006

very interesting info; pl keep writing; your blog is giving lots of info to future MBA students;
all the best
chennai, india

5. InvisibleInk - November 12, 2006

Thank you Lakshminarasimha. I will do my best!

6. Arvind - November 12, 2006

Dear InvisibleLink
I was just trying to sum up the total cost of the INSEAD MBA, and it was great to have come across the above blog. Thanks for all the information.

My profile (in brief), and I am not troubling you for an analysis or forecast 🙂
GMAT – 760
Professional Experience: 5 years in IT
Intl Experience (2 years in the US with both my clients)
Good Academic record and initiatives at work and outside of it.

I will be submitting my application online in a few days from now.

One question I have for you though is about the HSBC Intl loan option for financing the MBA.
When do you get to apply for it…i.e can you do it while you are still in India, or are you requried to be on campus to be eligible to apply.
Also, what are the main factors used by the bank to decide on the amount they are ready to release as a loan to a student.
Finally, what is the average time taken to pay off these loans from past students’ experience?


7. InvisibleInk - November 12, 2006
8. JK - December 3, 2006

Hi InvisibleLink,
I am one of the regular readers of your blog and I find it quite interesting and informative.
Kudos for the time and effort u r investing.

I am doing my MBA from IIT Bombay and wanted to go for an intl. one after some years. Can you plz tell the number of students with prior MBA in insead.


9. InvisibleInk - December 4, 2006

Hi JK,

I’m glad you find it interesting. Thank you for being a regular reader. Regarding your question, I unfortunately don’t know how many students have a prior MBA degree. This kind of information is not covered in the statistics INSEAD releases. So far I haven’t come across anyone with two MBAs but if I do so, I’ll forward your details to him or her for further advice.

10. J 06 - December 21, 2006

Hi JK,

I graduated from INSEAD in July 2006, and it had several Indians with a prior MBA. These included students with prior MBA from Bajaj, IIM-A and C, IMI, NMIMS, TAPMI.

So I guess, it should be fine for you to apply in a few years time! Hope that helps.

Good luck,
From J 06

11. RainDrop - February 3, 2007

Hi InvisibleLink,

I’ve applied for the INSEAD MBA, and recently received an email inviting me for interview(s) with the INSEAD alumni.

Three questions here which require your experience and guidance:
1. How many rounds of interviews would there be? Just one?
2. How is/are the interview(s) structured? What sort of questions do the interviewer typically post to the candidates?
2. Is an invitation to interview a good indicator that I stand a fairly good chance of admission into the MBA program?

Any other advice which would help me in the interview sessions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!

12. Lisa pletsch - March 9, 2007

How much does a mba cost at iit. How would it take to get a mba. I have friend name chetan katyal he has a dream to get his mba.do u need alot of training. Can he get a scholarship with a 3.2 or 3.3 and even 3.4 he has a gpa around there. My email. to talk about mba’s.hes 26 years old is it 2 soon to get it or do you have 2 go through things to get a mba

13. Lisa pletsch - March 9, 2007

Hes do something electrical enginering. can this be very costly i hear it can cost 60,000 $ what he said it cost. he wants to be a manger thats all he every says i guess. he just got his masters. in electrical engineering. lol i know nothin about. can give me some info asp. thanks a million!

14. SD - March 21, 2007

Hi InvisibleLink,
I have been reading your feedbacks for quite sometime and found very vivid in terms of perception, as if we are very close to the B-Schools! I have completed B.Sc with 61% Phy, Math & Statistics in 1997. I have around 9 years of work exp which is neccessarily in sales and distribution with MNCs like Glaxosmithkline, Ranbaxy consumers, ICICI bank (Credit card collection) and currently with Olam International and I am based in Nigeria for last 2 years. I do not hold any prior MBA, but I do have a fairly excellent managerial potential as per my all past/Present bosses. My core professional strenghts are setting up business infrastructure i.e. costing & budgeting, distribution, warehouse, recruitements and deployement, trade promotions etc.
I am in 30th, have a strong plan to do a MBA but I am more interested in a 1 year course than a 2yr. I can always go back to my current company for an employment. Over the years I have developed a strong understanding of business and its core processes.

I hope reading all this I am not taking too much of your time, but the idea is to get your most qualitative feedback.

I want to know your advice, that given the kind of background I have, what should be key factors I should develop myself w.r.t ISB hybad or Insead. About Insead, I am aware that there are better qualified people but if it is the diversity which Insead talk about then I think I can also present my case. Pls advise what GMAT score can make case strong there?

15. Madhu - March 21, 2007


Really appreciate your efforts in guiding us.

I am Indian woman with a hotel management background – graduated in India but took up a position in Dubai – lived and worked in Dubai for 6 years and am now based in the UK since 2004 – currently responsible for UK sales for a hotel in Lithuania (Eastern Europe). Total of almost 9 years work experience.

My GMAT score was 690 😦 with a 85% in Verbal and 80% in Quant.

I am applying in a few weeks’ time for the Jan 2008 intake, and will rely heavily on scholarships.

Though I know your feedback may or may not represent teh views of the adcom, I still look forward to hearing from you.

16. Romeo - April 10, 2007


I am Indian engg with 7 years of experience. I wrote my Gmat yesterday and i got 690( M 48 V 37). I am from a top engg school in India and with Infosys till now. I worked about 2.5 years in India and 1 year in London, 2.5 years in Canada and i am in US right now, doing a role of a project manager. I am planning to apply for second round Jan 2008 intake. Can u tell me the chances of me getting accepted.

17. pooja - April 13, 2007

hi Invisblelink

I was wondering if you could provide me with some feedback. After agonizing over where to apply/when/gmat I’ve narrowed the down the list with INSEAD at the top of it. Here are my stats: 3.7 gpa as a biology major (from a private u.s. school), worked for 9 yrs in a commodities firm (with postings in the u.k. and switzerland) and i took the gmat over 5 years ago and got a 640, and i need to take it again and hopefully improve.

18. Akshat - May 4, 2007

Hi Invisible ink ,
I came across your page and was very impressed by your article and responces. I am not sure if you are still answering questions but if you are I would be very grateful if you can provide me with some inputs.
I am planning to apply for the Jan 08 intake of Insead – I have a 750 GMAT and about 7 years of work Ex , Mainly in analytics , a field that i greatly enjoy . However I feel to rise higher now I need a more general management profile & grounding in subjects like finance. I am about 34 yrs will this be a major impediment also my experiance is totally in India will that be counted as a negative.


19. preet - August 10, 2007

Hey InvisibleLink,
Whats the difference in doing It from Singapore location as compare to France .How about the campus interviews.Do they happen in Singapore as well.Right now I am working in Singapore but i like to work in Europe .Studying in Singapore location seems to be viable option ,but later i would like to work in Europe.Do haave any idea about this,.
And is there any advantage of doing in sept term as compare to Jan term.


20. Preeti - August 18, 2007

Hello all,

I am Preeti. An INSEAD Aspirant from India. Although I am very much interested in making it to INSEAD & have already started to think through the essys for Sept 2008 intake, I am doing a sanity check to guage my chances of getting in. Let me present my profile plus some sneak peek into my personal charateristics which have made me the person I am. A candid opinion on whether applying to INSEAD is a good decision or not would be highly appreciated.
Acads: Computer Science Engineer from a well known institution called Punjab Engineering college. Somewhere around 3.5 GPA with good extra cirrics in college. Loved to solved tough physics numericals in school, good in quant.
GMAT 710 (QA-95, VA-75)

Work Ex: Working with Sapient as Tech Developer. The client is a Hedge fund, so I am pretty much into the businnes side of the dept I am working for. I have travelled to London, Chicago & Hong Kong.. multiple journeys but short stints (like 1.5 to 3 months everytime). By the time I join INSEAD i will have 4 years of work ex. Since Sapient is about IT consulting, so i have played that role during my client visits & day to day work as well & my long term goals is indeed Consulting. Have played Leadership role in my project leading 2 people & mentoring them as well.

Personal Charateristics: No fear atitude. There have been times when I have been entrusted with tough assignments (like in HK I did trader’s support which is considered tough as even 1 second failure in systems can cost traders million bucks & they go crazy) and i was choosen coz I have shown traces of fearlessness, confidence & adaptibility. I am a proactive teammamber & take a lot of initiatives for the growth of knowledge in team. i have good extra cirrics at work also, with a recognition at the company level for my contributions. I love to work & at time when there is not much work around, i seek out work for myself. Humane angle while dealing with my team members, i understand what makes or breaks ones Morale & can guage when a teammembers is down & can talk to him/her at a level where he/she can trust me with his/her problems.
My most imp characterisitc is that even being a woman I am feircely career oriented & bent upon improvign myself with each passing day.

But, i am still NOT a Senior Enginneer at my firm, partly because I switched my company from a product based company to services based coz it alligned more with my goals & in the switching proceess i switched my work domain Quality engineer but here I am a Developer. So it took me a while to come upto speed with Technology development.
My weaknesses, I am little careless, but I believe this not something that cannot be improved & i am workign hard on it.

Please provide me a candid opinion on what my chances are of getting into INSEAD so that I get realisic & rather concetrate more on other colleges i am applying to.



21. vibranture.com - August 21, 2007

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